Get the facts
What Traditional Medicine Doesn’t Cure
By Dr. Len Lopez
Nutrition and fitness expert
It’s been said, you don’t ask a poor man how to make money. You also don’t ask an overweight person how to lose weight. So why in the world would you ask a doctor who has never used nutrition, vitamins, or herbs in his practice—someone who has NO clinical or firsthand experiences with his patients, someone who has never seen the benefits of fish oils, digestive enzymes, probiotics, or the healing effects of herbs—to comment on their effectiveness? It doesn’t make sense!
Most doctors you see on television commenting on the latest nutrition or vitamin story are usually so far from the front line of true natural healing that it’s not even funny. It’s like the ROTC cadet telling a Marine infantry unit how to fight a battle when they have never stepped out of the classroom. Too often patients are asking their doctor about supplements that the doctor has no clinical experience with. What most people fail to realize is that most doctors aren’t schooled on how to help people get healthy naturally, other than by saying, “cut out red meat, quit smoking, get some exercise, and learn how to manage stress.” They are not schooled in the benefits of nutrition in medical school.
Mainstream medicine in the United States is the greatest when it comes to acute, trauma care, but in dealing with chronic, degenerative diseases, it is losing terribly. This is why so many people are turning to doctors who practice natural, holistic medicine. Everyone knows if you go to the doctor complaining of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart health, or hormonal imbalances, they are going to give you a medication. The questions we need to first be asking is “Are all those medications helping to make the body stronger and healthier, or is the medication simply treating the symptoms?” This is the big difference between natural and traditional ‘allopathic’ medicine.
The other big question is this: Can natural medicine provide the same benefits without the risk of some of the terrible side effects that come from every drug, including aspirin? A majority of the prescriptions for most of today’s chronic, degenerative problems are intended to address the symptom, NOT the cause. The average senior citizen is taking more than seven medications. Add to that the fact that the potential interactions from the combination of all of those drugs can have serious consequences. Additionally, there are No research studies showing the safety of consuming more than one medication at a time.
Treating the Cause
I’ve always heard that you don’t get the right answer if you don’t ask the right question.
Think about it. Is heart disease a result of high cholesterol or blood pressure? Is all the heartburn and indigestion a result of too much acid? Is osteoporosis a result of too little dairy? Is fatigue a result of not enough coffee? Are hot flashes and night sweats a result of low levels of synthetic estrogen or progesterone?
Let’s do some critical thinking and address how natural medicine addresses these problems. Keep in mind both parties want us to get healthy, although one group only wants you to get better following their protocol and may snub the other.
High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Both natural medicine and mainstream medicine believe that high blood pressure and cholesterol are indicators telling us our cardiovascular system is in jeopardy. So why do we spend all this money on medications that manipulate our cholesterol and blood pressure? Isn’t it only affecting the indicator that tells us our cardiovascular system is in jeopardy? Shouldn’t we be addressing the cause of heart disease?
Inflammation has long been known as the cause, which is brought about by an overconsumption of certain fats and the lack of essential fatty acids (omega-3s), vitamins, and minerals.
The benefits and research on fish oils and other omega-3 fatty acids is overwhelming. These valuable nutrients help correct the balance of saturated to polyunsaturated fats, which helps reduce inflammation. Fish oils work as a natural anti-inflammatory, which is why they work so well with arthritis and joint pain. They help make your red blood cells more elastic and reduce the risk of clotting, which is what triggers heart attack or stroke. So, using fish oils to overcome heart disease should be part of your first line of defense in the natural health arena. Keep in mind that fish oils are also known to be beneficial for anyone struggling with arthritis, fibromyalgia, hot flashes, depression, and chemical imbalances.
Heartburn, Reflux, GERD, and Irritable Bowel
Traditional medicine would like us to believe the problem is too much acid. Actually, it’s just the opposite—not enough acid or digestive enzymes to help break down our food. Acid is required to breakdown protein. Insufficient acid allows protein to putrefy and rot inside the stomach. It is the purification of that undigested protein that irritates our esophagus and leads to many of our digestive complaints.
Mainstream medicine’s approach is to give an antacid or drug to reduce the acid. Reducing the acid only hinders the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and other important vitamins, such as vitamin B-12. Insufficient stomach acids also prevent the release of other digestive enzymes. Plus, acid is needed to purify and sanitize our food, protecting us from various microbes, bacteria, and viruses found in our food.
Most people who are always on the go and complain of being stressed out have literally turned off their stomach’s ability to make acid—so too much acid is NOT the problem. I have found that giving my patients digestive enzymes and additional hydrochloric acid really helps alleviate their digestive complaints. We also need to take a look at what we are eating. Food combining and “hidden” food allergies can also be a part of the problem.
Adding a good digestive enzyme with hydrochloric acid will go a long way in reducing heartburn, indigestion, reflux, and GERD. Anytime you take any medication that interferes or prevents the normal production of various bio-chemical processes, you are going to create problems.
Do we need more milk? The United States is one of the largest consumers of dairy products in the world, yet we have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis fractures in the world. It doesn’t add up! Other cultures consume far less calcium than Americans, yet they don’t have the same rate of osteoporosis.
Yes, we need calcium, magnesium, and the other minerals, but let’s not forget omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which are needed to pull these minerals out of the small intestines and push it into the cells. But maybe the problem isn’t a lack of milk or calcium. Maybe the question we need to be asking is why is our body being stripped of all these minerals?
Could the simple reason be that we are too acidic, which causes our body to steal calcium from our bones and teeth to help move our body to a more alkaline state? Are we consuming way too many processed, refined foods, high fructose corn syrup, coffee, and protein? The human body is designed to be slightly alkaline. When it becomes too acidic, it will use valuable minerals to neutralize that acid and make it more alkaline. The question is where does your body draw those minerals from? If you eat lots of fruits and vegetables you will provide your body with an adequate amount of minerals to perform that job. If your diet is lacking fruits and veggies, your body will strip away those minerals from the bones and teeth to help neutralize the acidity. Is a medication going to change that? No, but a diet that includes 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies, a multi-mineral supplement, or a green drink will provide the minerals your body needs to slow down the destruction of your bones.
As you can see, the questions and the approach of natural medicine are far different from traditional medicine. If you want to get healthy, and reduce the amount of medications you are taking, you need direction from an expert in that area, someone who has clinical experience with nutrition, vitamins, herbs, and their healing properties. Don’t be lead astray by one expert who is commenting about an area of expertise that he has no clinical experience in.
Next issue I will uncover some additional questions we need to be asking about some of the most common chronic and degenerative problems facing our nation.
Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness expert and creator of The Work Horse Trainer. He speaks extensively on diet, exercise, and how stress can affect your overall health and wellness.
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